Course Calendar

Monday, May 6: Arrive in London (Heathrow or Gatwick airports)

Check in at the London House Hotel (daily continental breakfast included; 7:30-10:00 am) 81 Kensington Gardens Square, London, W2 4DJ (Neighborhood: Hyde Park and Notting Hill)

Tuesday, May 7: Getting our bearings…

7:30-10:00 am Breakfast at London House Hotel

12:00-1:00 pm: Class Discussion (London House Hotel breakfast room)

  • London map and transportation overview
  • The London Theatre Landscape: Commercial, State-Funded, and Independent
  • Caryl Churchill and Stephen Sondheim in context

2:00 pm: Tour of Theatre District and Covent Garden

  • Download the VoiceMap app to your phone, and the free podcast “Walking tour of Theatreland with Sir Ian McKellen

4:15 pm: Afternoon tea at The Delaunay (included meal)

Evening free (I suggest sleep…long day tomorrow)

Wednesday, May 8: National Theatre as National History

7:30-10:00 am Breakfast included at London House Hotel

10:30 am Buckingham Palace, Changing of the Guards Ceremony

12:00 am Victoria and Albert Museum, Theatre and Performance Collection

2:30-3:30 pm Class Discussion (V&A Garden Cafe, courtyard if the sun is out)

  • Theatre as British Culture (review of V&A collections)
  • Military Precision as Performance (review of ceremony)

3:30-5:30 pm Explore Kensington. Some options…

  • Kensington Palace
  • Hyde Park
  • Natural History Museum (free entry)
  • Earls Court Police Box (photo op for Doctor Who fans)

5:30-7:00 Dinner on your own.  Suggested…

Kitchen Cafe at the National Theatre; inexpensive but hearty food, lots of tables outside to enjoy the river and foot traffic.  The surrounding area also has a selection of food trucks, frequented by young professionals gathering between work and evening plans.  Great place to chill and just be in London.

7:30 pm Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, Lyletton Theatre (National). “Now hiring: top girls wanted for prestige positions. Must be self-motivated go-getters with an appetite for success. No timewasters. Marlene is the first woman to head the Top Girls employment agency. But she has no plans to stop there. With Maggie in at Number 10 and a spirit of optimism consuming the country, Marlene knows that the future belongs to women like her.”

Thursday, May 9: National Theatre as National History II

7:30-10:00 am Breakfast included at London House Hotel

10:00 pm Class Discussion (London House Hotel lobby)

  • Review of Top Girls
  • Discuss Hytner’s Balancing Acts

11:00-3:00 pm  Free time

  • Consider heading to Southwark early and grabbing lunch at Borough Market, a food hall that has existed as a market since 1014!
  • While in Southwark, how about expanding your ideas about performance by visiting the Old Operating Theatre Museum

3:00 pm Tate Modern tour, “Media Networks” (Meet on the L4 Natalie Bell Building concourse)

5:00-6:00 pm, Tour of the National Theatre

6:00-7:00 pm Dinner (again, I suggest the Kitchen Cafe at the National Theatre or any surrounding food trucks)

7:30 pm Follies by Stephen Sondheim, Olivier Theatre (National). After a sold-out run, Follies, winner of the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival, returns. New York, 1971. There’s a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves.

Friday, May 10: British Treasures: Literature, History, and Tourism

7:30-10:00 am Breakfast included at London House Hotel

10:00 am Class Discussion in London House Hotel lobby.

  • Review of Follies and the National Theatre enterprise
  • Literary tourism and the British Library

11:15 am Travel to the British Library for the Library Treasures Exhibit.

12:30 pm Lunch

1:45 pm Tower of London.

  • Download the “Time Explorers” app to your phone, and download at least one of the Missions for the Tower of London. Watch
  • Some missions have accompanying videos:
  • Embark on at least one of the missions.
  • Take one of the Yeoman Warder’s tours, leaving every 30 minutes from near the main entrance.
  • Otherwise, visit the attraction at your leisure (if you see a shorter line at the Crown Jewels, get in it!)

Late afternoon free; dinner on your own

7:30 pm The Half God of Rainfall by Inua Ellams at the Kiln Theatre. From award-winning poet and playwright Inua Ellams (Barber Shop ChroniclesAn Evening With An Immigrant) comes a new myth.  The Half God of Rainfall is a contemporary epic that weaves poetry and storytelling in a majestic journey that transports us from a tiny village in South West Nigeria to Mount Olympus, to the further reaches of our galaxy and beyond.

Saturday, May 11: Stratford-upon Avon, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Shakespeare as Tourism

7:30-8:45 am Breakfast included at London House Hotel

9:00 am Begin drive to Stratford-upon-Avon

11:30-1:15 pm Find lunch/Wander

  • The Dirty Duck is a pub with a riverside terrace, if the sun is out. The Old Thatch Tavern is the oldest pub in town, dating back to 1470. The Rooftop is the upstairs restaurant at the RSC, if you want to relax.

1:30 pm The Provoked Wifeby John VanBrugh, directed by Philip Breen who “brings his comedy Midas touch to this outspoken Restoration romp that shocked 17th Century society.”

Class discussion, time and location TBA

  • Review The Provoked Wife
  • History as Tourism at the Tower of London

Explore Stratford-upon-Avon and find dinner

  • Visit Shakespeare’s grave at Holy Trinity Church.
  • Other possible/optional sites to visit are Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (£12.50) and Shakespeare’s Birthplace (£17.50).

7:30 pm Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare, directed by Justin Audibert. “In a reimagined 1590, England is a matriarchy. Baptista Minola is seeking to sell off her son Katherine to the highest bidder. Cue an explosive battle of the sexes in this electrically charged love story.”

10:30 pm Return to London

Sunday, May 12: Free Day in London

7:30-10:00 am Breakfast included at London House Hotel

Free day in London. Some recommendations:

Monday, May 13: Theatre History as Contemporary Production

7:30-10:00 am Breakfast included at London House Hotel

10:00-11:00 am Writing time (take the morning to begin drawing out your thoughts about something to which you connected)

11:00-12:00 Class Discussion (London House Hotel breakfast room)

  • Review Half God of Rainfall
  • Review Tower of London as tourism and performance of history
  • Review trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare tourism, and the RSC as a classical producing company

2:00 Tour of Shakespeare’s Globe

  • Including both a tour of the reconstructed theatre and exhibits in the Shakespeare Centre.

Dinner on your own.

7:30 pm Emilia, Vaudeville Theatre. Produced by Shakespeare’s Globe.

Post-show conversation with scholars and guests Drs. Jen Parker-Starbuck (Royal Holloway) and Joshua Abrams (Royal Central) at TBA in Covent Garden.

Tuesday, May 14: High Culture in Glasgow, Scotland

7:30-9:00 am Breakfast included at London House Hotel

9:43 am Board train at London Euston Station

  • You will be able to buy lunch on the train, but you’ll have more choice from packaged sandwiches and other to-go items for purchase at the station.

2:15 pm Arrive at Glasgow Central Station

Check in to Grasshoppers Hotel Glasgow (breakfast included; served 7:00-9:30 am)

3:00-7:00 pm Explore Glasgow and find dinner

  • If you are interested in afternoon tea, try the nearby Willow Tea Room (open until 5:00), designed in tribute to Glasgow native and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

7:15 pm The Magic Flute by Mozart, Scottish Opera, Theatre Royal Glasgow. “Sir Thomas Allen returns to Scottish Opera to revive his five-star production of Mozart’s most inventive opera. Set in a spectacular world inspired by the Victorian futurism of HG Wells and Jules Verne, this enthralling Magic Flute perfectly balances the opera’s beguiling mix of comedy, fantasy and pantomime with a profound story of the search for wisdom, love and truth.”

Wednesday, May 15: Urban Culture in Glasgow, Scotland

7:00-9:30 am Breakfast included at Grasshoppers

10:00-11:00 Class discussion (Location TBA)

1:00 pm A Play, a Pie, and a Pint: Jockey Wilson Said by Jane Livingstone, Oran Mór. “It’s 1979 and rising Scottish darts star Jocky Wilson has travelled to America to play a series of exhibition matches. When he misses his ride to the next event however, Jocky finds himself alone and on the road. All the diminutive Fifer really wants is to get back home but there’s a long and challenging journey ahead…” (Lunch included)

Afternoon and evening free to explore Glasgow.  Some recommendations:

  • Explore Glasgow’s Merchant Square, vibrant center for bars, restaurants, culture with history in “Merchant City.” Or go shopping along Buchanan Street, the pedestrian long mile featuring international brands and local department stores.
  • Visit People’s Palace, features exhibits telling the history of social life in Glasgow. Recently reopened, much to the delight of locals (free). (Also a good place to reflect on the idea of a “people’s palace” in a working-class city, distinct from histories of kings and queens.)
  • Visit Glasgow Cathedral, medieval cathedral built in 1136. In other words, old and impressive. Adjacent, the Necropolis, Victorian-era cemetery, cool and creepy.
  • Visit the Riverside Museum with the Tall Ship, Glenlee, learn about the history of shipbuilding in Glasgow (free).
  • Take a self-guided tour of the University of Glasgow, including the Hunterian Art Gallery and Macintosh House.

Thursday, May 16: Edinburgh, Capital City, and National History

7:00-9:30 am Breakfast included at Grasshoppers

10:03 am Board train at Glasgow Central Station

11:10 am Arrive at Edinburgh Waverley Station

Drop luggage at hotel, Travelodge Edinburgh Central (breakfast included)

1:00 National Museum of Scotland

  • Spend at least 30 minutes in the Scottish History Galleries, giving particular attention to levels 2 and 3. Exhibit material on Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, and the Jacobite rebellion will provide context for our upcoming excursions to Stirling Castle and Culloden Battlefield.
  • Spend some time noting Scottish pride in modern-era advancements in science, technology, and design

3:00 Class discussion, Balcony Cafe on Level 3

  • Glasgow overview, including Jockey Wilson Said
  • Museums as stages for national history/identity

Evening free

Friday, May 17: Commercializing and Performing Scottish History

7:00-9:00 am Breakfast included at Travelodge

9:00 am Board a Rabbies Bus at the Travelodge for full day tour of the Scottish countryside.

10:00-11:30 am Visit Stirling Castle.

12:00-12:45 pm lunch in Callander (lots of inexpensive options, but I recommend Mhor Bread and Tearoom).

1:00-2:30 pm Visit Doune Castle

  • In advance, consider watching the pilot episode of Game of Thrones (paying careful attention to the scenes at Winterfell), the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, or episodes from season 1 of Outlander (featuring scenes from Castle Leoch)

3:00-4:00 pm Visit Deanston Distillery.  Located on the banks of the River Tieth, this location was originally a cotton mill, opening in the early 19th century as Scotland transitioned from an agricultural to industrial economy.  The shift to a distillery demonstrates another significant economic shift toward a heritage industry.

4:00-5:00 pm Class discussion on the ride back to Edinburgh.

Evening free

Saturday, May 18: Day in Edinburgh, New Scottish Writing

8:00-10:00 am Breakfast included at Travelodge

Free morning and afternoon in Edinburgh to explore.  Some recommendations:

8:00 pm Traverse Young Writers Scratch Night, Traverse Theatre

  • Consider finding dinner in the neighborhood around the theatre, lots of great places nearby.

Sunday, May 19: Inverness on World Whiskey Day, Gateway to the Highlands

8:00-8:30 Breakfast at Travelodge, or grab Breakfast-To-Go option

9:29 am Board train at Edinburgh Waverley Station

1:17 pm Arrive at Inverness Station

Check in at Black Isle Bar and Rooms (There is a hostel onsite, but we have booked private rooms with private bathrooms; no breakfast included)

Afternoon and evening free to explore Inverness. Some possibilities:

Monday, May 20: Scottish History and/as Scottish Theatre

Breakfast on your own.

9:30 am Meet to travel to Clansman Harbour

10:00-12:00 am Loch Ness Cruise and Urquhart Castle

12:30 pm Lunch provided back at the Black Isle Brewery pub and Class Discussion

  • Edinburgh and Inverness overview
  • National Theatre of Scotland preview
  • Review material on The Cheviot

2:00-5:00 pm Travel to, visit, and return from Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre

Dinner on your own.

7:00 pm The Cheviot, the Stag, and the Black, Black Oil by John McGrath, Eden Court.  “This legendary piece of Scottish theatre tells the story of the exploitation of Scottish lands, waters and people over the centuries. From the highland clearances to the oil boom, this is the universal tale of how the greed of a few blights the lives of many. Add a generous dose of Scottish rebellion and irreverence. Throw in some live music and a riotous ceilidh – you’ve got yourself a rollicking great night out.”

Tuesday, May 21:  National Theatre as Urban Culture in Dundee

9:44 am Board train at Inverness Station

  • Breakfast/lunch included en-route

1:02 pm Arrive at Dundee Station

Check in at Malmaision (Breakfast not included)

Afternoon free to explore Dundee.  Some possibilities:

7:30 pm My Right Left Foot by Robert Softley Gale, Scott Gilmour, Claire McKenzie, and Richard Thomas at Dundee Rep. “The local am-dram society is under pressure to comply with the equalities agenda. They come up with a cunning plan to create a gripping show starring ‘the disabled’. What could be better than the Oscar-winning ‘My Left Foot’? The only snag is they’re having real trouble finding any disabled actors – but that never stopped Daniel Day-Lewis!”

Wednesday, May 22: Gaming as Performance in Dundee, center of computer gaming

9:00 am Class discussion with breakfast included, location TBA

  • National Theatre of Scotland overview, The Cheviot and My Right Left Foot

11:00-1:30 pm V&A Dundee.

2:00 pm Two choices:

  • Bus to St. Andrews from Dundee City Centre; tour cathedral ruins, see the coast (this is what I’ll be doing)
  • Continue to explore Dundee

Dinner on your own.

Thursday, May 23: Return to London, Re-visit the National Theatre

9:07 am Board train at Dundee Station

Paid group breakfast/lunch enroute

2:51 pm Arrive at London Kings Cross Station (with a quick visit to Platform 9 3/4’s)

Check back in at the London House Hotel (breakfast included), 81 Kensington Gardens Square, London, W2 4DJ

Dinner on your own

7:00 pm Small Island by Helen Edmundson, adapted from the novel by Andrea Levy. “A company of 40 tells a story which journeys from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury. . . . Small Island follows three intricately connected stories. Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK.”

Friday, May 24: The Anglican Cathedral as National Stage

7:30-10:00 am Breakfast at London House Hotel

10:30 am St. Paul’s Cathedral

12:00 pm Lunch and Class discussion in St. Paul’s Crypt Cafe (affordable coffee, tea, and sandwiches)

  • Review Small Island
  • Discuss national identities in religious tourism
  • Preview Bush Theatre and Royal Court Theatre

2:30 pm Westminster Abbey

Recommended dinner: Arrive early in Shepard’s Bush (the neighborhood surrounding the Bush Theatre), explore, and find a nearby pub or restaurant.

7:30 pm Class by Iseult Golden and David Horan, Bush Theatre. “Brian and Donna’s son, Jayden, is nine years old, and he’s struggling. That’s what his teacher says. Mr McCafferty thinks Jayden should see a psychologist. But Brian and Donna never liked school, never liked teachers. So are they going to trust this one? And should they?”

Saturday, May 25: National Tourism and Popular Culture (and Christin’s 48th Birthday)

7:30-10:00 am Breakfast at London House Hotel

11:30 am Depart for Warner Brothers Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter at London Euston, traveling to Watford Junction (have Oyster cards ready).

1:00 pm Studio Tour begins

2:15 pm Meet beside Malfoy Manor for Behind the Seams special session at 2:30

3:30 pm Studio Tour continues

4:30 pm Return to London

6:15 Group dinner at the Royal Court Bar and Kitchen (funded by some anonymous, generous donors (who may or may not have given me life and raised me)

7:45 pm salt. by Salina Thompson at the Royal Court Theatre, Jerwood Theatre upstairs. “A journey to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. In February 2016, two artists got on a cargo ship, and retraced one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle – from the UK to Ghana to Jamaica, and back. Their memories, their questions and their grief took them along the bottom of the Atlantic and through the figurative realm of an imaginary past.It was a long journey backwards, in order to go forwards. This show is what they brought back.”

Sunday, May 26: Free Day in London

7:30-10:00 am Breakfast at London House Hotel

See recommendations from May 12th, but also consider the wealth of free museums available to Londoners:

Monday, May 27: From Hampton Court to London’s West End

7:30-10:00 am Breakfast at London House Hotel

10:00 Travel to Hampton Court Castle

1:00-2:00 pm Class discussion at the Orangery Café

  • Review Class and salt
  • Continue comparison of performances as tourist sites (Harry Potter Studio, Hampton Court)

7:00 pm The Lehman Trilogy by Stefano Massino (National Theatre and Neal Street co-production at the Piccadilly Theatre), directed by Sam Mendes. “On a cold September morning in 1844 a young man from Bavaria stands on a New York dockside. Dreaming of a new life in the new world. He is joined by his two brothers and an American epic begins. 163 years later, the firm they establish – Lehman Brothers – spectacularly collapses into bankruptcy, and triggers the largest financial crisis in history.”

Tuesday, May 28: London’s West End

7:30-10:00 am Breakfast at London House Hotel

Day Trip to ???

  • As a group, we will decide where we would like to go on this day.  If it is sunny, we might go to Oxford for a tour around the university and punting on the river.  If you haven’t had enough of castles, we might check out Windsor Castle and the local village of Windsor. We might take the train to Bath or catch a tour to Stonehenge.

7:30 pm Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein, Jerry Bock, and Sheldon Harnick, Playhouse Theatre. Trevor Nunn’s five-star sold-out production of Fiddler on the Roof transfers from the Menier Chocolate Factory to the Playhouse Theatre for a limited season. The show sees Tevye, a father to five daughters, try to maintain his Jewish religion and cultural differences as outside influences come into the family’s live. With his daughters’ unexpected choice of husbands old traditions and young love collide. The Broadway classic features well-known songs such as ‘Tradition’, ‘Sunrise, Sunset’, ‘Matchmaker, Matchmaker’ and of course ‘If I Were a Rich Man.’”

Wednesday, May 29: British Imperialism and Global Perspectives

7:30-10:00 am Breakfast at London House Hotel

10:30 am Manga マンガ, special exhibit at the British Museum

  • Followed by continued tour of the British Museum (it’s HUGE)

2:00 pm Henry IV, Part 1 by William Shakespeare, performed at Shakespeare’s Globe. “Two Harrys: Harry Hotspur and Prince Hal. Sons to enemy fathers: Henry Percy and King Henry IV. Hotspur is preparing to lead an army against the King – incensed at the King’s dismissal of the Percy family’s demands. But Hal is occupied in the pubs and streets of Eastcheap with his companion Sir John Falstaff, uninterested in his inheritance and in the fate of his country. In a polarised England, each person must choose which truth to believe, and which cause to call their own.”

Evening free

Thursday, May 30: Final day in London

7:30-10:00 am Breakfast at London House Hotel

12:00-1:30 Final Class Discussion (London House breakfast room)

Afternoon free (what haven’t I seen yet?!?)

TBA Final dinner

Friday, May 31: Depart from London House Hotel

7:30-10:00 am Breakfast at London House Hotel